Home » War In Ukraine: 52% Of Bulgarians Worried About Security In Europe – Poll

War In Ukraine: 52% Of Bulgarians Worried About Security In Europe – Poll

A poll done close to the first anniversary of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine has found that 52 per cent of Bulgarians are worried about security in Europe.

The poll, by Alpha Research for public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television’s weekly Referendum talk show, found that with regard to the war in Ukraine, 41 per cent of Bulgarians said that they did not feel threatened, while seven per cent had no opinion.

Asked when they expected the war to end, 46 per cent said that they could not say, 33 per cent believed that it would last a long time and 21 per cent said that it would end this year.

Meanwhile, a new European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) polling report – comprising data from nine EU member states, the US, Britain, China, Russia, India and Turkey – suggests that the Western alliance remains united in its support for Ukraine, one year on from the outbreak of war – but that divisions between the West and other global powers have emerged on the conflict, their interpretations of democracy, and their ambitions on the world stage.

The ECFR polling report is based on a public opinion poll of adult populations (aged 18 and over) conducted in late December 2022 and early January 2023 in 10 European countries (Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain), and in five countries outside Europe (China, India, Turkey, Russia, and the United States).

In Europe, the war is seen not as an attack on a neighbouring country, but as an assault on the entire continent. This is expressed by strong public support for EU sanctions – with pluralities throughout Europe backing a full ban on Russian energy. The prevailing opinion in the West is that Ukraine needs to regain all its territory, even if it means a longer war.

Non-Western countries prefer a rapid end to the war, even if that requires Ukraine to cede territory to Russia. As many as two-thirds of those surveyed also see strength in Russia’s position on the global stage, despite the conflict, and, in the case of Chinese and Turkish respondents, consider Moscow a leading “ally” and “partner” of their country.

The West’s motives have aroused suspicion in China, India, Turkey and Russia – with many in these countries believing that US and European support for Ukraine is exclusively focused on the “defence of Western dominance”.

The image of Western democracy is at a low ebb, globally. In China, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents believe that their country is a “real democracy”, and superior to the political models in the US and Europe. Similarly, in India (57 per cent) and Turkey (36 per cent), pluralities believe their democracy functions better than any other.

The report’s authors and foreign policy experts, Timothy Garton Ash, Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard, warn of hurdles ahead for the West as it engages with emerging powers, including Brazil, India and Turkey.

Russia’s invasion is no longer seen as a war in Europe, but as a war on Europe. Contrary to last summer, the prevailing view in Europe (44 per cent in Great Britain, and 38 per cent across nine EU countries) is now that Ukraine needs to regain all of its territory, even if it means a longer war or more Ukrainians being killed and displaced – while fewer (22 per cent in Great Britain, and 30 per cent in EU-9) believe that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should rather stop as soon as possible, even if that means Ukraine giving control of areas to Russia.

Public opinion has hardened in the West. Over half of those surveyed in the US (55 per cent), Britain (64 per cent), and the nine EU countries (54 per cent) perceive Russia as an “adversary”, while further 16 per cent, 12 per cent, and 12 per cent, respectively, perceive it as an “adversary”.

Just 14 per cent in the US, 15 per cent in the EU-9 and 8 per cent in Britain look at Russia as either an “ally” which shares their interests or as a “necessary partner” with whom they must strategically cooperate.

ECFR also found, throughout the West, that many citizens now hold extremely negative perceptions of Russia – usually describing it as “aggressive” and “untrustworthy”.

In the US, 45 per cent and 41 per cent hold this view, whilst in the EU-9, 48 per cent and 30 per cent see Russia as “aggressive” and “untrustworthy”. The feeling in Britain was even more pronounced, with 57 per cent and 49 per cent of respondents selecting these two perceptions, when asked to pick up to 2 out of 10 proposed descriptions.

Europeans are determined not to buy Russian fossil fuels – even if it harms their energy supplies. Across the nine EU countries polled, an average of 55 per cent support this move. Just a quarter (24 per cent) believe the priority should be to ensure undisturbed energy supplies.

Among other global powers, many believe the war should end as soon as possible – even if that means Ukraine is forced to cede territory. In China (42 per cent), Turkey (48 per cent) and India (54 per cent), pluralities or majorities hold this view, whilst just 23 per cent, 27 per cent, and 30 per cent in each, respectively, believe Ukraine should regain all its territory, even if it means a longer conflict.

In the US, many believe their support for Ukraine is driven by the need to defend its democracy – while Europeans see their own support as a broader struggle for security. 36 per cent of Americans subscribe to Joe Biden’s claim that the main reason for the US to stand behind Ukraine in this war is about preserving its democracy. Only one in five in Britain, and one in six across the nine EU member states, align with this narrative. The prevailing view in Britain (44 per cent) and the EU-9 (45 per cent) is that their involvement is primarily for the defence of their own security. Just one in 10 (11 per cent) in Britain and the EU-9 believe the principal reason for their standing behind Ukraine is to defend its “territorial integrity”.

Elsewhere, the West’s involvement is viewed more sceptically. Despite Western leaders calling the conflict a “fight for democracy”, and appealing for global support against Russia’s aggression, many respondents in other parts of the world believe there are other motives at play. Less than a quarter of those surveyed in China and Turkey believe that the West is supporting Ukraine to defend its territory or democracy – and the corresponding figure for Russia is just 15 per cent.

Other global powers still see Russia as a “strong” presence, as well as an “ally”, and “partner” despite Moscow’s three-day “special operation” now reaching the one-year mark. Around three-quarters of those surveyed in China (76 per cent), India (77 per cent) and Turkey (73 per cent) believe that Russia is either stronger, or as strong, as they claim they viewed it before the outbreak of war. They also, in some cases overwhelmingly (as high as 79 per cent), see Russia as a either an “ally” or “partner” of their country.

Russians see the US and its European allies as “adversaries” or “rivals” in the global community – a position that also sits with many in China. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents in Russia view the US as an “adversary”. Corresponding numbers are 51 per cent and 46 per cent, with respect to Russian perception of the EU and Britain. In China, the prevailing view is that the US (43 per cent), and Britain (40 per cent) are strategic rivals.

source: sofiaglobe